DOJ to sue over floating wall; Mexico promises action, too
Texas’s $8.5 billion spent on border security is not working, reports the conservative bastion Wall Street Journal. “Texas has spent two years and billions of dollars the most agressive attempt by any state to take control over federal border security. There’s no indication it has worked,” wrote WSJ reporter Elizabeth Findell. (1)
Not only are Texas taxpayers on the hook for ineffective policies — that’s bad enough — but state agents have allegedly engaged in behavior that is arguably cruel and inhumane.
In a blistering special report, the Houston Chronicle details several cases of mistreatment of migrants by state officers. According to the 17 July article, officers were ordered to push small children and nursing babies back into the Rio Grande River. They were told to withhold water from asylum seekers, even in extreme heat, according to an email from a Department of Public Safety trooper who described the actions as “inhumane.”
The July 3 account, reviewed by Hearst Newspapers, discloses several previously unreported incidents the trooper witnessed in Eagle Pass, where the state of Texas has strung miles of razor wire, and deployed a floating barrier in the Rio Grande River. These include a pregnant woman miscarrying and trapped in the wire, and a four-year-old girl passed out from heat exhaustion after trying to squeeze through the wire.
And despite all the hoopla, Gov Greg Abbott’s centerpiece project has increased arrests made by the US Border Patrol by a whopping 1%, the WSJ reports. (2)
In any event, illegal border crossings are down 70%, according to the Department of Homeland Security, as reported by ABC News. (3) This is a result of the Biden Administration’s ending of Title 42, after a long-fought battle.
Meanwhile, both the US Justice Department and the Mexican government have strongly objected to Abbott’s planned floating barrier. (4, 5)
The Justice Department announced that it intends to sue the state over the barrier (4). The barrier is designed to threaten migrants with drowning, and thereby deter them from crossing the Rio Grande River.
“The State of Texas’s actions violate federal law, raise humanitarian concerns, present serious risks to public safety and the environment, and may interfere with the federal government’s ability to carry out its official duties,” stated a letter Justice sent Abbott on Thursday.
Mexico's top diplomat said Friday her country has sent a diplomatic note to the US government expressing concern about the floating barrier. Foreign Relations Secretary Alicia Bárcena said that the barriers could represent treaty violations (5).
Mexico plans to inspect the barrier to determine whether the dangerous obstacle extends onto the Mexican side.